Transport Focus requests for reform in rail fares

6 July 2020 (Last Updated July 6th, 2020 16:12)

Independent UK watchdog Transport Focus has requested the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps to implement rail fares reform.

Transport Focus requests for reform in rail fares
Transport Focus has urged for more flexibility in rail fares in the UK after the Covid-19 pandemic. Credit: Office of Rail and Road / Flickr.

Independent UK watchdog Transport Focus has requested the Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps to implement rail fares reform.

According to its latest ‘Travel during Covid-19’ survey, the travel patterns of the people have changed, and it is predicted that they may not return to the usual Monday-Friday commute soon.

Around half of the 2,000 people surveyed stated that they expect to work from home more frequently in the future and 36% stated that their work will be home-based.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Transport Focus has urged the UK Government to make changes to the fares and ticketing system to increase value.

This can be in the form of flexible season tickets for those who will work part-time at the office and cater to the needs of the passengers now.

Transport Focus CEO Anthony Smith said: “Passenger views on the current structure are well known, complicated, illogical, expensive, low levels of trust. A new railway needs a 21st century retail offer, especially when it may need to stimulate demand and persuade passengers to return.

“We hope that consideration can be given to accelerating the provision of carnet/flexible season style tickets. As well as improving the work-life balance for passengers, this could also help manage demand in the coming months when capacity is scarcer.”

Research by Transport Focus showed that passengers prefer a fares system that is easy to use, simple to understand and with flexibility for the work and travel of people in the current scenario.

In May, around three in five passengers (62%) stated that they would feel comfortable to travel using public transport when social distancing is enforced.